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4 Years Later – Levis v.s. Japanese Repro Lawsuit Still Fair Game?

Have you ever wondered why certain raw denim brands have arcuates or arcs (i.e. back-pocket stitching) on their jeans, while others do not? Or that identical pairs of jeans are only differentiated by the design on the rear pocket, such as these two pairs of Samurai‘s:

So what gives?  Back in January of 2007, iconic denim brand Levi’s sued various denim brands ranging from Von Dutch to Sugar Cane for trademark infringement in North America based upon four issues:

  1. Rear pocket stitching must not resemble the Levi’s arcuate in any way, shape, or form
  2. The leather patch cannot show objects pulling jeans apart
  3. No tabs or labels on the vertical seam of a back-pocket
  4. Information cards hanging out of the back-pocket, cannot resemble Levi’s’ cards

The result was that a majority of Japanese repro brands had to pull certain models from production, and go so far as to change their arcuate design.

Some examples include:

Studio D’Artisan Patch


Studio D’Artisan Arcs – Before and After

Studio D’Artisan Arcs



Studio D’Artisan Arcs – Before and After

Skull Jeans Arcs



Skull Jeans Red Tag – Before and After

What are your thoughts here?  This issue happened and has settled well over 4 years ago now, but is it fair for Levi’s to lay claim to details such as these?  Is there any way these Japanese repro brands can argue their case or is Levi’s just too much of a 500 pound gorilla?

We’d love to hear your thoughts so please comment below.

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